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Author Interview – Sabrina Chase July 27, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in Author Interviews.
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I’m lucky to have Sabrina Chase visit with me for an interview on Akamai Reader! Among her books are Firehearted, The Last Mage Guardian, and the Sequoyah Trilogy.

1. Was there a catalyst of single even that led you to your writing career?

I love books–I read very quickly, and my favorite writers were not writing fast enough to keep me entertained. I had written stories since grade school, but I didn’t get serious about writing until I was in my twenties.

2. If you could sit down with your favorite author, who would it be? What would you say?

I’d love to have tea with Jane Austen, but I’d probably need someone to introduce me to her first, to be proper.  Say, Georgette Heyer. I’d probably have more to say to H. Beam Piper. Much fangirl gushing about his ability to write timelessly (he died in 1964, and if you read his books you can’t tell when they were written), some interesting science news he might find intriguing, and if he seemed in a good mood, a delicate request for him to read my writing…

3. Do you prefer writing sci-fi or fantasy? 

I like both. Science fiction is more restrictive in terms of what the genre will allow the writer to get away with without explanation–it has to be somewhat plausible *in this world*. Fantasy is less structured, which means the writer has to both create their own structure and be consistent with it. Also with science fiction (given my physics degree) I have to remember to tone down the science to save the reader from dozing off.

4. What is your writing process?

I am what is known in the “biz” as a pantser. This means I don’t outline. I usually start off with an initial premise, main characters, and a few very vivid scenes.  Idea-noodling like that I can do either on paper or on the computer. Then I just have to figure out a way to get the characters to those vivid scenes, and that’s when the supporting characters and setting come to life. I am part of a long-standing critique group, and they go through the first draft. Usually after they are done I have to let the book sit for a few months before I go back and rewrite, so the book is fresh to me. When I’m happy with it, it goes off to my editor–who has the thankless task of trying to cure my comma addiction and other atrocities that shall remain nameless.

5. Which do you like to write more, stand-alone books or trilogies?

I have only committed one trilogy so far, and I didn’t plan it that way (see “pantser”, above). The story just kept going and I could tell it would take three books to finish. I do like each book to be complete in the sense it has its own narrative arc, even in a trilogy.

6. What do you perceive to be the advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing?

The main advantage of self-publishing is it is mindlessly easy, which is also the main disadvantage. I can remember the publishing industry moaning about the advent of cheap word processors and how they created mountains of manuscripts–where before the effort of typing kept the deluge of crap minimal. The recent complaints that self-published=poor quality are just another variation on the theme. I love being able to select and direct my own cover art, for example (although my artist whimpers occasionally) and to write just the story in my head–not the one the corporate market director thinks will sell. I’m responsible for everything about the book–if I don’t do it, it doesn’t get done–but it feels wonderful when I do my job and I get emails from readers complaining of how I made them stay up late to finish my book!

7. What advice would you give to writers just starting out?

Read good (that is, well-written) books. Then read a bad one and see if you can point out *why* it is bad, and how you would fix it. Writing is a creative process so there are no hard-and-fast rules, and that is frustrating to beginners who just want to know HOW and why won’t you tell me? It’s more of a path than a recipe. Write as much as you can. Get feedback from people who a) respect the genre you are writing, b) are not susceptible to emotional blackmail and c) will tell you the truth, even if it hurts. Then put the work away until your emotions calm down before you make any changes.

I am admittedly biased in favor of self-publishing since it has worked so well for me. I have been on both sides, however. I have an agent and he even got me a traditional publishing contract for the Sequoyah series–which was so bad I turned it down and he *agreed* with me! Currently the traditional publishers show no sign of respecting authors, and until that changes I can’t recommend pursuing a traditional publishing contract. That said, convincing someone who must make money off the deal that your writing is good enough to pay for is an excellent cure for inflated ego problems.  If short stories work for you, try some of the online e-zines or similar publications. But only if you get paid!

8. Can you talk about any works in progress you have going on or future releases?

My current project is a science-fiction standalone, The Scent of Metal. It reveals the *true* nature of Pluto, what really happened to the Neandertals, and computer geeks in space! I am hoping to get that finished and available early 2013. I’m also planning to write a sequel to The Last Mage Guardian, and thinking about some short stories set in the world of Firehearted.

Thanks to Sabrina Chase for stopping by the blog!

Contact Sabrina

WEBSITETWITTERFACEBOOK

Buy her books

THE LAST MAGE GUARDIAN

FIREHEARTED

THE CORRECT WAY TO FILL OUT FORM PCR-103-U

THE LONG WAY HOME

RAVEN’S CHILDREN

QUEEN OF CHAOS

Review – Queen of Chaos July 20, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 4 stars, Sci-Fi.
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Title: Queen of Chaos

Series: Sequoyah Trilogy, Book Three

Author: Sabrina Chase

Publication Date: September 2012

Publisher: Worlds Away Press

Available at: Worlds Away Press

 Summary:

With Seqouyah in imminent danger of attack from Toren, Moire Cameron has no time to for Crabs. Crabs is what she has to deal with though and more then she had bargained for.

How will she deal with Toren when she has to deal with the Crabs as well?

Review:

Queen of Chaos lived up to its title. It was just a little chaotic. Not to the point of bewilderment or anything, but just enough to keep things interesting and exciting. There was the ceeyo of Kulvar to deal with, there were the Crabs, Toren, and Fleet. All of them wanted a piece of Moire. It added up to a spicy mix of adventure and mayhem.

It took me much longer to read this last book of the trilogy. I wanted to savor it and prolong the experience. It was hard to do since it was so action packed. There were fights in space stations, fights in space, and fights planetside. It was hard to put this book down.

The Crabs were explored further in this book and they were an extremely interesting addition. They had a big purpose as well as being very intriguing as not only a race but as a culture. I liked how in-depth the author went with them.

The fights in space were so much fun. The descriptions of the ships were so well done I could easily imagine myself there or watching as if in a movie. I bet George Lucas would have so much fun with this!

If there’s one flaw it’s the characters. Although they stayed true to form in this book, they weren’t further developed in this book. They didn’t seem to grown. There is one scene where Ennis confides in Moire about something of his past. That seems to give him more dimension. Everything else is static. Moire still struggles with her position as leader. Alan is still a man-child. I would have liked to have seen more character development.

Taken for the whole, the book was very good though. I just wish I could keep reading about this wonderful world.

Review – Raven’s Children May 24, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 4 stars, Sci-Fi.
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Title: Raven’s Children

Author: Sabrina Chase

Genre: Science Fiction

Publisher: Worlds Away Press

Publish Date: Sometime in July 2012

Available at: Not yet available

I received an ARC courtesy of the author.

Summary: (This review may contain spoilers for both readers who haven’t read book one and for readers for book two.)

Moire and the crew of the Raven continue to evade Toren. They continue to salvage ships in the hopes of accumulating enough money to build enough defenses for Sequoyah against the attack they know will happen when Toren discovers Sequoyah. Meanwhile, they launch an offensive against Toren to stop the manufacturing of the Created.

Review:

So much happens in this book I couldn’t quite summarize it. The action was non-stop. It was one long rollercoaster of movement. I was left breathless and I loved every minute of it.

Ennis and Moire meet up again on equal footing and passions ignite. It was a little corny at times, but it wasn’t overwhelmingly so. I thought it was appropriate.

Moire and Alan’s relationship deepened and it was touching. You could see her struggling with her feelings as a new mother and it was heart-warming. They have an odd situation so it was sometimes humorous. I loved the quirkiness of that.

The introduction of the alien was fascinating and exciting. It was a little like Close Encounters of the Third Kind only the advantage was all on the humans side. There was enough of foreshadowing with the alien that left me wondering what’s in store for the next book between the it and Moire.

The only exceptions I have to make is in one action scene they seem to have gotten away a little too easily. They impersonated Toren personnel and I can’t help but wonder if that was just too easy. Also when Lorai was looking for Harrington, he just happened to be the one man she rescued. In a perfect world that might happen, but I don’t expect it in the real world. It was a little too predictable, but for the sake of fiction I can suspend belief and make believe.

Other then that I have no exceptions to make with this book. It was extremely well done and I can’t wait for the third installment. I only wish Sabrina Chase could write faster.

Review – Raven's Children May 24, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 4 stars, Sci-Fi.
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3 comments

Title: Raven’s Children

Author: Sabrina Chase

Genre: Science Fiction

Publisher: Worlds Away Press

Publish Date: Sometime in July 2012

Available at: Not yet available

I received an ARC courtesy of the author.

Summary: (This review may contain spoilers for both readers who haven’t read book one and for readers for book two.)

Moire and the crew of the Raven continue to evade Toren. They continue to salvage ships in the hopes of accumulating enough money to build enough defenses for Sequoyah against the attack they know will happen when Toren discovers Sequoyah. Meanwhile, they launch an offensive against Toren to stop the manufacturing of the Created.

Review:

So much happens in this book I couldn’t quite summarize it. The action was non-stop. It was one long rollercoaster of movement. I was left breathless and I loved every minute of it.

Ennis and Moire meet up again on equal footing and passions ignite. It was a little corny at times, but it wasn’t overwhelmingly so. I thought it was appropriate.

Moire and Alan’s relationship deepened and it was touching. You could see her struggling with her feelings as a new mother and it was heart-warming. They have an odd situation so it was sometimes humorous. I loved the quirkiness of that.

The introduction of the alien was fascinating and exciting. It was a little like Close Encounters of the Third Kind only the advantage was all on the humans side. There was enough of foreshadowing with the alien that left me wondering what’s in store for the next book between the it and Moire.

The only exceptions I have to make is in one action scene they seem to have gotten away a little too easily. They impersonated Toren personnel and I can’t help but wonder if that was just too easy. Also when Lorai was looking for Harrington, he just happened to be the one man she rescued. In a perfect world that might happen, but I don’t expect it in the real world. It was a little too predictable, but for the sake of fiction I can suspend belief and make believe.

Other then that I have no exceptions to make with this book. It was extremely well done and I can’t wait for the third installment. I only wish Sabrina Chase could write faster.

Review – The Long Way Home May 23, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 4.5 stars, Sci-Fi.
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Title: The Long Way Home

Author: Sabrina Chase

Genre: Science Fiction

Publisher: Worlds Away Press

Publish Date: May 3, 2012

Available at: Amazon

From Amazon:

Webspace pilot Moire Cameron is one of the best–but even she can’t fly her way out of a catastrophic drive failure that triggers a time-dilation bubble. Left suddenly eighty years out of date, she is on the run in a world she no longer knows, caught in the middle of a human-alien war while agents of Toren hunt her for the information only she has–the location of the pristine world of Sequoyah.

The Long Way Home is the first book in the Sequoyah trilogy.

Review:

The scope of this book is magnificent. From the frontlines of a war in space to the backwater planets on the Fringe, this book has a little bit of everything.

Mercenaries, Fleet military, pirates, and pioneers. The cast of characters are vast, varied and colorful. The landscape is just as rich. From planetside to ship life, you get a taste of everything. All without missing a beat.

The character development is phenomenal. Moire is vulnerable in her pain at being stranded 80 years from her time. Yet she shows a strength that is admirable. Her resourcefulness causes even more respect.

I really felt her loneliness at being the only survivor from her crew and her determination to complete her mission. I also felt her desperation as she felt the odds weigh against her as she realized how unlikely it would be for her to succeed against the giant corporation Toren with all its resources. You can also feel her desperation as she struggles to survive despite these odds. Her difficulties with adjusting to life in the present age with all its idiosyncrasies also makes it a very realistic story.

Ennis is an intriguing character with his strength and his sensitivity.  His intelligence is something I admire, if not his ambition. I really enjoyed reading about him as his story unfolded and intertwined with Moire’s.

There were unexpected plot twists that I appreciated as the book went on. It kept me on my toes and kept me glued to the pages. I look forward to the second book of the series which I’ll be reviewing next.

Sabrina Chase doesn’t disappoint fans with The Long Way Home. It was a very entertaining and satisfying read.

The Last Mage Guardian January 27, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 4 stars, Fantasy.
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The Last Mage Guardian

by Sabrina Chase

(also available on NOOK)

This magical tale starts out with Ardhuin. She’s a mage, except there are no female magicians in her world besides herself. So her great-uncle trained her in secret up until his death. Now she’s not at the seminary where her parents think she’s supposed to be, but she’s residing in a chateau in Bretagne — left to her by late great-uncle.

Her great-uncle left her more then a chateau. She is his heir as one of the Mage Guardians of Aerope. He also left dire warnings of magical attacks prior to his death.

That’s when a stranger in the from of Dominic Kermarec arrives at her doorstep. It’s up to her to find out if he’s part of the magical attacks and she’ll have to travel to the ends of Aerope to find out the why of the mystery behind it all.

Her adventures are wild and fun. She’s a well-developed character that grows and evolves as the story moves on. Her strength is admirable.

The correlations between Bretagne and Britain and Aerope and Europe are obvious, but charming. Science and magic co-exist in this otherworld.

The plot isn’t obvious and it had me guessing until the end. I didn’t know who the villain was, which made the story quite delightful.

The Last Mage Guardian was slow to start, but easily evolved to a quick pace that had me easily absorbed to the end. I had thought that, as this was one of her first works, Chase might have had a rougher time with it, but her writing style was true to form. A very strong novel that doesn’t disappoint.

This book is fun, engaging, and full of quick-wit. I’m glad I followed through and looked into further works by this author.

4 of 5 stars

Firehearted January 25, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 4 stars, Fantasy.
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Firehearted

by Sabrina Chase

Ronne, an exiled swordnoble, is living in a deserted outpost of the vast Empire when she decides to shelter a dying barbarian warrior. Erith, the barbarian who is an outcast from his people, miraculously recovers from his wounds. Much to the chagrin of Ronne who hadn’t really thought he’d survive his wounds.  Despite the fact that the Empire may discover her harboring an enemy, she continues to shelter Erith in the face of winter storms.

With his help and the help of other loyal Empire soldiers, they discover a betrayal that cuts deep into the vast realm of Ronne’s people. Along with the aid of new magics they discover, they work to fight the evil that invades the land.

I’m always a bit reserved when I start books that I got for free.* I quickly lost all reservations after the first two or three chapters. Chase’s writing style is easy to lose yourself in.

She also has a masterful way of seamlessly switching between the perspectives of Ronne and Erith. I don’t know many writers who can do that without making me dizzy.

The adventure is fast-paced without leaving you breathless. There’s an easy flow to the adventure that you fall into rhythm with. It’s engrossing and hard to put down. Yet not so intense that you need to take a deep breath and step away from every now and then.

Her characters are nicely developed and I found myself really responding to Erith. He was a fish out of water and I’m sure we’ve all felt like that at some point or another. For me, he was the easiest to relate to.

The cultures she wove into her world were fascinating and reminded me of several here in our world. Enough so, that I kept trying to see the correlation and the differences. She didn’t fully flesh all of them out though. She gave just enough for you to get the feel for them and for me, that was enough.

It was a well-rounded story and it made me wish this was the beginning of a series.

4 of 5 stars

*It’s no longer available for free, it costs $2,99. Still worth the cost, in my opinion.